If European football was 1988 comedy classic Twins the Champions League would certainly be Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Europa League’s Danny DeVito.
However, while the bigger competition boasts the world’s best players, those competing in the continent’s other tournament can hardly be described as small-time.
Here, Ladbrokes News James Curtis looks at three players standing out from the crowd in this season’s Europa League and highlights some tempting betting opportunities.
Jonathan Soriano – Red Bull Salzburg
Soriano never really made the cut at Espanyol, scoring just three times in 43 league games, but he has since gone on to prove a deadly force in front of goal.
A return of 55 strikes in 79 games for Barcelona B saw Red Bull take a punt on the 29-year-old and he has repaid that faith with 77 goals in 87 games so far.
He has smashed 22 in 19 outings so far this season, with five of those strikes coming in Europe, and can be backed at 4/1 to open the scoring against Celtic this week or at evens to net anytime.
Check out this Beckham-esque finish from the Catalan star:
David Lafata – Sparta Prague
Late bloomer Lafata has really come into his own since signing for Sparta, smashing 47 goals in just 66 league appearances so far.
With 16 goals in 17 matches this term he is clearly making the most of his new-found form and with five European goals already this year looks a solid bet to net against Napoli at odds of 6/1 for the opener and 21/10 anytime.
Watch the in-form veteran smash SIX goals in one game earlier this season:
Raul Rusescu at Steaua Bucharest
Unlike his namesake, this Raul failed to make the grade in Spain, with a short-lived Sevilla spell seeing him returned to Steaua on loan.
The move hasn’t dented his confidence and he has taken his Bucharest total to 34 in 65 with five goals in nine games this year.
That all five have come in the Europa League though is not of little significance and prices of 8/1 for a first goal and 5/2 for an anytime strike should certainly tempt against Aab Aalborg this week.
Watch all 36 of the striker’s goals from last year:
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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